More obsessions and more DVDs to be released tomorrow including Pier Paolo Pasolini's Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom, Anthony Mann's Cimarron, the Errol Flynn Western Collection and David Mamet's UFC movie, Redbelt. Also, check out Sept. 2 for the Fox noir titles Road House (a classic starring Ida Lupino, Richard Widmark and Cornel Wilde) on which I provide commentary with friend and "Czar of Noir" Eddie Muller. I also contributed to featurettes on Road House and the bizarre but beautiful Moontide (starring Lupino, Jean Gabin and Claude Rains).
As for now, Three Obsessions:
1. Midnight Movies Only because I discussed the longstanding trend on the show Dailies for the Reelz channel. Though I briefly discussed newer pictures now being released at midnight, why movie fans like to attend the late late shows and why studios looove making money off of them, my favorites will always be the true cult movies, like Harold and Maude (which I'll be writing about soon), Showgirls or Rocky Horror (though I could never join that movie cult -- I just love the picture itself and the music -- "Science Fiction Double Feature" is a perfect, beautiful, epic song). Anyway, it all started with The Empire Strikes Back in my hometown, Seattle, but really on a larger scale, with Tim Burton's Batman -- which I talk about but was probably cut for time. There's never enough time! Dig the drunk singing The Star Wars theme...Jeeesus...I hope he's drunk.
2. Suddenly, Last Summer (1959) Even scripter Gore Vidal admits to going way over-the-top with this Tennessee Williams adaptation, but bless the man for doing so. To please the production code, he had to -- making the film's homosexual character not only an enigma, but a faceless monster, perishing at the hands of fed-up native boys. Joseph L. Mankiewicz's Suddenly is another picture I watch with alarming frequency, but I can't fault myself -- the picture has it all -- Kate Hepburn at her most evil scene chomping best, perpetual fag-hag Liz Taylor donning not only the "it" bathing suit but being the "it" woman to procure young men for her chicken-hawk, native sodomizing cousin. Insane asylums, lobotomies, creepy Venus flytrap Gothic gardens, the Galapagos Islands, cannibalization! And then there's the beautiful Montgomery Clift, post accident (I happen to think he's still gorgeous -- just broken and more vulnerable) as Liz's supportive shrink (can you imagine Monty as your shrink? Wait a second...I totally can and wish he was). The movie finds the deliciously named Violet Venable (Hepburn) as a New Orleans widow unnaturally obsessed with her "poet" son Sebastian, who died while on vacation with her gorgeous niece Catherine (Taylor). I love how impeccably formal, insanely eccentric (she comes down to greet people in an elevator and has a garden filled with monstrous plants) and downright sick this woman is; her fixation on Sebastian being Oedipal with a capital O. But pretty Catherine's thoughtful shrink Monty will get to the bottom of this poisoned well leading to the movies memorable blood-curdling scream of "Help!" -- something that has invaded my dreams for years and years. Perfect hothouse Southern melodrama. I want to move there...
3. Goldiggers of 1933 (1933) I can never get enough of this sexy, subversive picture. Though 1930’s Warner Brothers is renown for social dramas like I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang or the brilliant Wild Boys of the Road (you must track this down -- an under-seen masterpiece) and classic gangster films like Little Caesar with Edward G. Robinson and Public Enemy with James Cagney, they also provided some of cinema’s greatest musicals. My favorite being Gold Diggers of 1933, directed by Fugitive helmer, Mervyn LeRoy and more importantly, choreographed by that mad genius, surrealistic artist Busby Berkeley. With a take on what Americans love most -- money -- the film showcases a bizarre-o number of the famed song "We're in the Money" wherein a comely Ginger Rogers sings it in both English AND Pig Latin. (My God, how I love Ginger -- The Major and the Minor alone). Amazing for its ability to be light fluff, fantastically inventive in terms of set design and costuming and seriously relevant, Goldiggers proves that musicals aren’t mere escapism. And by the time Joan Blondell ends the film with the haunting "Remember My Forgotten Man," in which soldiers from World War I are shown in bread lines, you'll again remember that even the oldest of musicals had something to say. Absolutely sublime.